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13 April 2011

Location 02: Goodsprings

Here we are! At the start of the game and the start of my real-world Quest: Goodsprings. And two things immediately become apparent.

Doc Mitchell wasn't in when I
dropped by...
First. your character isn't very tall - a candidate for the Little People of America, in fact: I'd guess only a metre or so. This makes the camera angles very different for my in-game and IRL snapshots; rather than side-by-side shots, my pictures are going to look more like before-and-after hair loss advertisements, where the first shot's kept deliberately pale and wussy to make the B look good. Work with me here.

... but his game shots will increase
his estate value
Second, perspective. The drama of the game's landscape is exacerbated by the forced sightlines; note how much tighter the z-axis is in the game shots, with distant terrain much smaller although closer by foot? The game's played through a fisheye lens. This isn't a complaint of course; it adds to the gameplay. But it plays hell with your framing.

Anyway, onto Goodsprings. It isn't - quite - a ghost town; there are people living there. First, the Prospector Saloon (called the Pioneer in real life.)

The Pioneer looks just as scary IRL
The game's designers have put in a few in-jokes. Note the rusting motorcycles outside? It's a biker bar IRL, and I saw several Hogs parked outside the day I was there.

The nukes hit before they could
even roll out their Harleys
The whole town's a good match for biker culture: low-rent with an outlaw/frontier feel. Shambling wooden shacks and oxidised rooves dominate the town, their browned corrugations a strange mirror of the landscape. It's a fascinating place to walk around.

The in-game saloon sign is a simple nameplate; the IRL one's got a bit more detail to it. The text reads:

This sign was added in 2001
"George Fayle moved to Southern Nevada from Calico, California, in 1904. He settled at Goodsprings Junction, which was later renamed for his wife Jean. 

In 1912, he moved to Goodsprings. He built the Pioneer Saloon in 1913, later building the Fayle General Store and the Fayle Hotel. 

I preferred the real world one
Though he died in the flu epidemic of 1918, his vision lived on through his saloon, still a centre of community life. Later owners have also affected the community, none more so than "Poppa Don" Hendrick, who raised money for local caues and ran a local ambulance service."

Sorry to whoever owns the car
Next door is the Goodsprings General Store, built by the same Mr Fayle.

The car had gone by 2281
The game version's very close to the real thing; note the Wild West typeface on the shingle. Note sure which varieties of reloaded ammo they sell inside, though.

Half a sail is better
than none...
Around the in-game town, there are plenty of riffs on real life. Makeshift windmills, homes, buildings, they're all there: it's just that in the game they're jumbled up, positioned for visual effect rather than as a result of civic planning.

... the game's rebuilt it
In fact, it's shocking just how game-like the real urban area feels.

Disused water tanks, planks of wood leaning listlessly against buildings, ancient hulks of inoperable machinery... it's all here, contributing to an atmosphere of gentle decay.

It's easy to see why the game designers made Goodsprings their choice to kick off FNV.

Schoolhouses are full of
predatory little creatures
The Schoolhouse is instantly recognisable, although the game's repainted it in rustic red. (Somehow, I think it looks better in the game.)

And that goes for the game too!
The perspective issue is very clear in these snaps: I'm approximately the same distance from the building in both shots, but the forced sightline gives the game building far more drama.

So that's Goodsprings. It was one of the last places I visited on my tour (which traversed the game map in an arc from northeast to west) but, as the game's start point, this is where the blog proper begins. Let's walk over to Goodsprings Cemetery.


  1. That's awesome, I never knew goodsprings was real until I looked it up in google maps.

  2. wow,
    I always wanted to visit Good Springs after playing the game. thanks for doing what you have done and sharing with us.

  3. how cool is that !!!

  4. Incredible! I remember FO3 being similarly accurate with the same caveats you mentioned earlier. I'm a New Vegas modder who goes by the handle VOZA on the nexus mod sites for FO3 and FO:NV. My experience with FO3 and NV have both led me to take virtual tours of both settings using Google Maps like the poster above. My NV virtual tour occurred only 2 days ago. I remember thinking how cool it would be to be able to physically visit all these places. Suddenly here you are, doing exactly that. Kudos to you Chris, the trip was totally WORTH it. (Sorry, couldn't help myself.)

  5. very cool ^_^

  6. Just want to stop by, and thank you for sharing your awesome tour of the F:NV theatre of operations.

    It's fantastic seeing those locations brought to life with your creative and inspiring commentary, not to mention the striking similarities between the locations. Definitely makes my time in game much more meaningful than plain ol' run and gun.

    Wish more games would put this much attention to detail in their creations these days :)

  7. Very nice. Next time I'm out there I should do this with the kids. They love Fallout and got me hooked too.

  8. this is really great hahah

  9. How have I only discovered this now?! I'm going Vegas in April and I'm dragging the other half around some New Vegas locations. Great stuff!

  10. Hi Chris: Interesting story, I went to Goodsprings last weekend and met Chet! Turns out the Character Chet is based on a real person working at the GoodSprings General store and helped the developers when they were scouting locations for the game. They even got some of their music from the jukebox in the bar to be apart of the game. If any of you ever get a chance to stop by there, see if Chet is in and ask about his "Fallout Survivors" wall he built.

  11. I was raised in goodsprings. The house is my old house that we put in from scratch. I live just down the street now

  12. This is amazing. Thank you!


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